1. SDI Partnerships Overview

1.1. Summary

For the past two decades the FGDC has provided leadership in fostering collaboration and developing partnerships for the advancement the NSDI. An effective NSDI requires developing and utilizing partnerships that promote collaboration, cost-effectiveness, and interoperable solutions. These components are the key underpinnings of the NSDI. Moreover, federal geospatial programs are highly dependent on effective relationships with partners and stakeholders from multiple sectors, including the private sector, academia, nonprofits, and all levels of government.

The FGDC works collaboratively with federal, state, tribal, and local governments, non-Federal partners, communities, constituents, and professional bodies providing the enabling foundation of standards, data catalogs, partnerships, and tools that make up the NSDI.

1.2. Introduction

Many organizations throughout the United States have a stake in building the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) together. The FGDC welcomes participation by state, local and tribal governments, the academic community, and the private and non-profit sectors in building the NSDI. Non-federal organizations may serve as Collaborating Partners by requesting official stakeholder status in writing to the Chair of the FGDC. Collaborating Partners are encouraged to participate on subcommittees and working groups and provide input into all decisions. Voting privileges are not extended to Collaborating Partners.

  • Federal - At the federal level, FGDC enables coordination among the federal agencies through the Steering Committee, Coordination Group and its working groups and subcommittees. Learn more about the FGDC organization and how each component of the organization works collaboratively towards the advancement of the NSDI.

  • Partners - One of the primary ways that the FGDC collaborates with its broad network of partners is through the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC). The Department of the Interior (DOI) established the NGAC in 2008 as a means to improve coordination and governance of national geospatial activities. The NGAC provides advice and recommendations to the FGDC and provides a forum to convey views representative of partners in the geospatial community. The FGDC also has many official collaborating partners.


The Geospatial Data Act of 2018 requires FGDC coordinate with international organizations having an interest in the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) or global spatial data infrastructures (GSDI.) The FGDC supports the development of Regional and Global Spatial Data Infrastructures (GSDI) to advance the use of geospatial data, information and services.

  • International - The FGDC supports international Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) development. Circular A-16 encourages the FGDC to participate in building the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) in addition to building the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). FGDC is actively engaged with Group on Earth Observations (GEO) & Global Earth Observations System of Systems (GEOSS) and United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM). Learn more about FGDC’s international activities.

  • Regional and Global SDI activities make good business sense while they contribute to good governance. In this way FGDC ensures that the policies, procedures, standards, metadata, and related components that are developed within the U.S. are compatible with our neighbors’ as well as globally. The rationale for sharing geospatial information across city, county, and state boundaries applies to sharing across international boundaries as well. Watershed, ecosystem, and related boundaries do not stop at political borders. Moreover disasters, famine, poverty, diseases, and similar human issues do not stop at international boundaries. Global SDI’s can help alleviate these problems by providing geospatial information and related services.

1.3. Key Objectives

  • Interoperability - FGDC ensures that the policies, procedures, standards, metadata, and related components that are developed within the U.S. are compatible with our neighbors’ as well as globally.

  • Access Global Geographic Data & Services - FGDC is working with international partners to make local-to-global geographic data and services discoverable and accessible for societal benefit.

1.4. FGDC Collaboarations Past and Present

  • American Society of Civil Engineers

  • Association of American Geographers

  • Cartographic Users Advisory Council

  • Geospatial Information & Technology Association

  • International City/County Management Association

  • National Association of State Chief Information Officers

  • National Association of Counties

  • National League of Cities

  • National Society of Professional Surveyors

  • National States Geographic Information Council

  • Open Geospatial Consortium

  • University Consortium for Geographic Information Science

  • Urban and Regional Information Systems Association

  • Western Governors’ Association